The 15-minute Breakthrough
If I told you that you could experience miracles by doing something for 15 minutes a day, would you do it? I’m talking about having a daily quiet time. You might cringe when they hear those two words because so many of us have had bad experiences in this area. We’ve tried to have a quiet time, but it wasn’t very good. When we hear other people talking about their quiet time, it seems like Moses, Elijah and Jesus show up—but some of us just don’t have quiet times like that. We might even fall asleep during our quiet time. And eventually, we just give up on it. I used to be the same way too, so I want to help you by disproving three common quiet time myths.
Myth #1—You can only have a quiet time from 4:00 am to 6:00 am.
Have you ever heard someone talk about having an amazing quiet time with God at 5:00 am? It sounds so spiritual, doesn’t it? I want you to understand this: If you show up later than 7:00 am, God’s not going to say, “We’re closed.” You can have a quiet time whenever you want. I suggest doing it at the start of your day, but it’s important to realize that you can have it anytime.
Myth #2—Your quiet time must last at least one hour.
There’s nothing in the Bible about a one-hour-minimum requirement on spending time with God. I know there are those who think that “spiritual” people need to spend at least an hour each day having a quiet time, but I’m a pastor and I don’t do that. The reason why is I’m a bottom-line kind of person. I’m not a long-winded preacher and my prayers are that way too.
Myth #3—Your prayer journal must sound like the Bible.
Have you ever had someone read to you from their prayer journal and it’s unbelievably awesome? I was with a group of ministers once when one of the guys said, “I want to read something to you that the Lord spoke to me this past Tuesday.” As he read, I thought, “I’ve never heard anything like that in my life.” There was such poetry to it! Wondering what God spoke to me on that Tuesday, I looked in my journal and this is what I’d written: “Try not to be a jerk today.” That’s what the Lord had spoken to me! It wasn’t eloquent or poetic. But it was real.
God doesn’t want to burden you with “rules” about quiet time that other people have set. He just wants to spend time with you. Can you imagine what it would be like to have to go down a checklist when we’re trying to spend time with God? Now that we’ve cleared the air, I want to show you four things that have helped me tremendously in my quiet time because I believe 15 minutes with the Lord each day can change your life.
1. Quiet your mind.
The first thing you should do is clear your mind. A quiet time isn’t a time to be busy; it’s a time to slow down. Psalm 62:5 says, “My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.” In this passage, David tells his soul to be quiet before God, and we need to do the same.
2. Focus your mind on God.
When I go to meet with the Lord and quiet my mind, God always puts a song in my heart. For the rest of the day, that song is my key into God’s presence, and if you’ll just listen, He’ll give you a song, too. Singing to the Lord turns your focus toward God, and it can be your key into His presence.
3. Pray what’s on your mind.
Philippians 4:6 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” So basically, talk to God like you talk to anyone else, and pray about whatever concerns you. You don’t have to pray for world peace unless that’s on your heart. Simply pray about whatever God’s put on your heart and mind.
4. Renew your mind.
Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” If you’ll renew your mind, it will transform every area of your life. It’s simple: read God’s Word every day. It’s like lifting weights. Sometimes it feels good and sometimes it doesn’t. But if you persevere and do it consistently, you’re going to see results over time.
On September 16, 1999, I had my quiet time like any other day, but something special happened as I met with God. After I prayed, I asked the Lord, “God, where do you want me to read?” Very clearly, I heard Him say, “Genesis 35 and Deuteronomy 11.” So I opened up to Genesis 35 and read: “Move to Bethel and build an altar for Me there.” As soon as I read that, the Holy Spirit immediately spoke to me and said: “Move to Southlake and start a church.” As I kept reading, God began unfolding His plan for Gateway Church. Where Gateway is today all came out of that little quiet time several years ago!
Here’s what I’m going to ask you: “What’s five years down the road for you? What’s 10 years down the road?” God knows. Are you giving Him an opportunity to tell you? Please don’t miss it because you’re too busy. All it takes is 15 minutes.
Excerpt taken from “The 15-Minute Breakthrough” in the devotional Conversations with God.